The late winter/early spring is always a quiet time for me. In a good way.
This year my first selling show will be in May so I’ve had the luxury of a lot of time to work out some of the ideas that I’ve been carrying around for a while. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen a few of these but, now that I feel like all the elements that I’ve been making are coming together I wanted to post everything in one place:
There are birds and leaves and little tapered silver twigs for them all to sit on … they’ll be evolving into final pieces over the next few weeks so keep a weather eye on instagram to see how things are going.
Last week I attended the first of what will, hopefully, be many lectures in the memory of Pamela Rawnsley, an inspirational jeweller and silversmith who died last year.
She was very much driven by her love of the landscape, something that comes through very clearly in her work and for that reason when the Contemporary British SIlversmiths association organised the lecture they asked a favourite influence of hers, artist Richard Long, to speak.
The first piece of his work that I ever saw was probably his most iconic:
A Line Made by Walking. Simple, utterly effective and a distinctly human thing on the landscape.
It seems to be the thing that’s gone on to influence many of his other pieces, over and over, through the years. He said at the talk that ‘replicating his walking and his line making [over time] has formed a point of view‘. His endless walking and making and leaving of lines has come to define him, to build the work of his life. Apparently it didn’t seem like much at the time, just a sculpture that was made, like so many others, while he was out walking, but returning to the essence of it so many times over the years has given it deep significance.
Alongside lines he builds circles:
both starkly (like this white one in Antarctica) and in beautifully subtle ways like these circles in South America:
These are probably the ones that I like best, because they dare you to believe that they occurred naturally and make you re-evaluate the landscape that you’re seeing and your place in it.
Yesterday I went down to London, mainly to go to a lecture but also, as I was in the neighbourhood, to spend the day at the Natural History Museum, somewhere that I’ve never really lingered very much.
I’m so glad that I did. It’s treasure trove of fascinating exhibits and, though I didn’t find as many fossils as I’d hoped for on display I did discover the Mineral Galleries, up in the roof, which yielded an astounding array of colourful textures and surfaces:
Some of these macro shots are almost reminiscent of a coral reef, with the minerals forming either beautifully organic structures or some really rather mathematical constructs, all effortlessly intersecting angles and sharp lines.
Plus, tucked away up there, I found two whole cases of silver mineral samples, some of which reminded me very much of those that I saw in Edinburgh, in January, all long, coiling wires that occurred naturally as the silver formed:
The two samples on the plinth are particularly large examples of these natural wires and are still attached to the rocks upon which they grew. They were found in Norway in 1834 and 1886 respectively, they hail from the Kongsberg Silver mines and are now housed in the Museum’s Vault exhibition space.